Between the Lines: IPG is bucking media trend

Interpublic's decision to wind up its media holding arm, IPG Media, seems at odds with the general trend in the media agency world (page 1). While the likes of Omnicom and WPP continue to invest heavily in their OMGs and Group Ms, IPG is moving the other way.

Its argument is that nobody buys into IPG Media; they buy into the individual networks Initiative and Universal. While this decision is a gamble by IPG's chief executive, Michael Roth, because critics argue that few clients are buying into either network, there is some logic to it.

The downside is that media agencies' relationships with their sibling ad agencies are usually worse than those with other agencies. But a closer working relationship between Initiative and Draft FCB, which has considerable direct and digital expertise at its fingertips, could create a service different to those on offer from rival networks.

IPG's job now is to commit the resources formerly promised to IPG Media to each media network. They are in urgent need of their holding company's support.